1. You’ve fibbed about going to the Hacienda.
If you spent your formative years reading about ‘Madchester’ in Smash Hits, you may well have led non-Mancunians to believe that you raved at the Hacienda every night of the week ‘back in the day’ (although you were 10 at the time.) If you were genuinely old enough to have partied at the Hacienda but instead spent it sipping Diamond Whites in Yates’s Wine Lodge, chances are you will make out that it was ‘before your time’. If it really was way before your time, you’ll probably claim your parents were hardcore Hacienda ravers, even if they were the ones sipping spritzers in Yates’s.
2. Your teenage identity was formed at either Afflecks or the Arndale.
As a young Mancunian you’ve entered Afflecks arcade as a nondescript teen, and emerged with a fully-fledged ‘alternative’ identity. Piercings, band posters, clothing in all shades of black, purple and animal-print, clomping boots, and skate wear. If you were more mainstream, you will have spent time in the Arndale Centre, where all the high street stores could be found under one roof.
3. You have strong opinions about Oasis.
Oasis are either peddlers of repetitive, derivative trad-rock or the pride of Manchester, depending on your viewpoint. Either way, you’ll probably claim that you (or at least your parents) saw them perform at the Boardwalk to about 10 people, before they ‘got big’.
4. You know that fried potatoes and bread belong together.
Crisp butties are things of great culinary joy. And none of that namby pamby ‘Cured Ham With a Touch of Black Pepper’ Kettle Chips nonsense, either. Walkers, or — even better — Seabrook, are the gold standard. Two slices of white bread, liberal butter, crisps. Perfect. Chip Muffins/Barms (depending on which part of Manchester you come from) are your hot, late-night version, with curry sauce for extra Manc-ness.
5. You’re either Red or Blue.
This is the bluntest way of asking about your futboling allegiances, and the answer may generate warm hugs or outright disdain. If, for some reason you grew up supporting a non-Manchester team — perhaps you inherited a random fandom from your parents — then you needed to develop a preference for either the red or blue side of the Manchester divide.
6. You know what ‘real’ street food looks like — and it looks like the What a Potato Spud cart.
Forget the fancy farmers’ markets and organic food stalls that have sprouted up in Piccadilly Gardens.
7. You have had endless debates about bread rolls.
Muffins. Barms. Baps. Rolls. Different words to describe the same thing, depending on which part of Manchester you come from. Ask for a chip barm in Ashton and you’ll get a funny look. Do you mean a muffin? Ask for a bacon muffin in South Manchester and you may be met with blank stares. One thing’s for sure, though — those things that people call ‘English muffins’? They’re teacakes.
8. You have a deep-rooted fear of ‘scallies.’
Known as chavs, or ‘hoodies’ in other parts of the country, scallies fill many of us Mancs with fear. With a dress style that has changed little over past couple of decades, you know scallies tend to roam in packs, wearing sportswear (sometimes tucked into socks) and with baseball caps perched high on their heads, they’re probably up to nothing more dangerous than a bit of illicit cider drinking or week-smoking, but they still frighten you. They might call you names. Or spit. And you know it’s best to avoid eye contact.
9. You’ve raised your arms over your head while dancing to “I am the Resurrection.”
Manchester band Stone Roses are less opinion-dividing than their compatriots Oasis. While revered as musical gods by some Mancunians, their early works are at least granted a grudging respect by the type of hipsters that can usually be found grooving to Ethiopian Jazz or Krautrock in the Northern Quarter. Whatever your musical tastes, if you grew up in Manchester, then you’ve almost certainly raised your arms above your head while dancing to “I am the Resurrection” whether on the sticky dancefloor at 5th Avenue (‘5th Ave’) or 42nd Street or at your mate’s house party.
10. ‘Dead’ is another word for ‘extremely.’
Most people think the word dead means ‘no longer alive’. For it means ‘very’, or ‘extremely.’ Things are ‘dead good’, dead ‘ard, ‘dead dead boring’ ‘dead ‘ot.’ We also know that to ‘mither’ means to bother somebody, and ‘keks’ is slang for trousers. Although we don’t call them trousers anyway, they’re ‘pants.’